Should the IFA adopt its own national anthem?

Recently we had the disgraceful but in some ways predictable behaviour of some fans (but at least it was a minority) at the Northern Ireland versus Republic of Ireland match during the playing of the National Anthems. I was always taught that no matter how you feel about a country, or its government’s policies, you should always respect the national anthem. However, at the same time – why do the Irish Football Association still continue to use God Save the … Read more

The wee nations of these islands show the way in Europe

It was a big week in Europe in more ways than one. Wales is left as the standard bearer of the home nations in the Euros. Northern Ireland and the Republic get honourable mentions  in the reputation stakes not only on the field but on the terraces and the pubs.  The Somme commemorations recall Britain’s very literal continuing place in Europe (There is a corner of a foreign field etc.”) Modern Ireland is recovering its own memory. In the horrible … Read more

Football fans North & South have done us proud…

“Don’t let yourself down” is usually the war cry of every Irish Mammy bidding farewell to her off spring as they head away to do something fun and away from the gaze of her watchful eye.  What the Irish Mammy means is, don’t let the family down because you are typifying them and word will get back to her if you’ve misbehaved.  Then you’re in trouble. pic.twitter.com/J5DsJXpDAf — Northern Ireland (@NorthernIreland) June 25, 2016   Since the Euro’s started; tens … Read more

The Lions of Lyon to the Princes of Paris

In restaurants, on the Metro, in the stands, the (Northern) Irish were unbeatable. They sang everywhere, all the time. A mix of contagious high spirits, irony and most of all lots of self-effacement they lit up the Parc Olympique Lyonnais on Thursday after having already given it all in the streets of the city. If you can sing, “Nous ne sommes pas le Brésil, nous sommes l’Irlande du nord, mais c’est pareil pour moi” that gives you the tone of … Read more

Cartoon – Lose-lose for Germany and Greece

The Republic of Ireland beat the creditor state 1-0. Northern Ireland beat the debtor state 3-1. For a short moment Germany and Greece are both losers. Brian SpencerBrian is a writer, artist, political cartoonist and legal blogger. Actively tweeting from @brianjohnspencr. More information here: http://www.brianjohnspencer.com/ http://www.brianjohnspencer.com/

Football Eligibility: An Issue for the Misinformed and Those Seeking to Deny National Rights?

The matter of the eligibility of northern-born Irish nationals to play for the Football Association of Ireland was raised again recently at a panel discussion on sport and reconciliation during the 50th plenary session of the British Irish Parliamentary Assembly (BIPA). It was co-chaired by Frank Feighan of Fine Gael, who told us that the “trend… deserves careful consideration”. This dispute has long been resolved, however, with football’s governing body, FIFA, providing ample clarification as to the correct application of their … Read more

“Sit down and stop acting like a petulant child.”

According to the BBC’s Mark Simpson, former Provisional IRA OC in the Maze Prison, now Sinn Féin leader in Belfast City Council, Cllr Jim McVeigh, objected tonight when DUP Cllr Ruth Patterson put on a Linfield football scarf while speaking on a motion calling on the council to honour out-going Linfield manager David Jeffrey.  From the BBC report The monthly meeting of the council on Monday was held up for more than 10 minutes as a result of complaints from Mr McVeigh. … Read more

After #Euro2012 is it time to think about a single Ireland soccer team?

Well, as it was put on Morning Ireland this morning the Republic sang whilst Spain played football. The singing, whilst impressive, only annoyed Roy Keane the more. The Corkman was blunt: “We’re a small country, we’re up against it, but let’s not just go along for the sing-song every now and again.” Translated, this roughly means: “this is sport, not entertainment”. I’m sure my old Da, who never even saw Keane the elder play but who loved seriously competitive players … Read more

Man City’s real triumph may be the undoing of Premiership’s featherbedding of past champions…

Well, they did it. I was in P4 when the team I (“Foolishly?” – Ed) chose to support in Primary School last won the championship of English football. Yesterday I watched them win again just round the corner from where I saw them gain promotion against Gillingham in 1999, when “typical City” similarly left their own salvation to the very last minute. And it was a good feeling. And better for the longer wait and the tougher win. The sentiment … Read more

“Such arrangements are commonplace in cross-border rail operations across Europe.”

As the BBC reports, Belfast-based freelance journalist Michael Fisher has taken exception to the terms and conditions of an Iarnród Éireann competition “to win an amazing trip for two with a difference to see Ireland’s three group games in Euro 2012 this June”. Well, one condition in particular – “Applicants must be 18 years of age or over, and must be resident in the Republic of Ireland” [added emphasis].  From Michael Fisher’s Border Rambler blog This is a clear case of discrimination, where marketing … Read more

Will Scottish football decide the referendum?

Is Scotland’s football team good enough for independence? Let’s look at the facts by comparing electoral support for independence, in so far as that can be measured as support for the SNP, with the performance of the Scottish football team. A number of points are worthing noting here: Qualifying for the finals of tournaments in the 1950s didn’t coincide with any major electoral success on the part of the SNP as, coincidentally, it wasn’t until the late 1960s that there … Read more

“Scotland never divided the way Ireland did…”

Steve Bruce with a well researched broadside on the dodgy accusation that Scotland is awash with sectarian, football related violence: Scotland never divided in the way Ireland did. It did not divide politically: the native Scots who worked with the Irish settlers and their children in the labour movement and in the Labour party always vastly outnumbered those who supported tiny and short-lived anti-Catholic parties. Scotland never divided residentially: nowhere in Scotland displayed Belfast’s pattern of residential segregation. And despite … Read more

All Ireland football? No. Our wee Province.

Lets get parochial. It seems only a few weeks ago Cork took Sam back to the Rebel County – maybe because it was just a few weeks ago? However, from now on down Down fans (mourning Mournemen?) and the rest of us get to forget the defeats and look forward to next year. Provincial football draws were made tonight! As Slugger is clearly an Ulster blog, I’ll only note the fixtures for the Anglo-Celt cup: Preliminary: Donegal v Antrim 1st … Read more

IFA: Court case for Irish, ‘understanding’ for English

One thing Slugger loves is a blog on football allegiances, so here you go… Today English teenager Adam Barton withdrew from the northern ireland football squad facing Italy and the Faroe Islands in the European qualifiers. Yesterday the north’s manager had declared: If players don’t want to represent Northern Ireland, it doesn’t matter how good or how bad they are, that’s up to them and good luck to them. It’s not a problem for Northern Ireland. “I focus on the … Read more

Photograph of the Day – Burst

Moochin PhotomanPhotographer and visual artist based in Belfast. I have facilitated community based workshops with groups as diverse as visually impaired individuals in Dungannn, Travellers across Northern Ireland, Young Offenders and many community groups across Belfast. My work has exhibited extensively here in Northern Ireland in group and individual shows and has been shown in North America and i had my first solo international exhibition in New Zealand. I have been the recipient of a number of grants from the … Read more

Yizwa imithandazo yethu

Its unusual for me to moan or promote a personal agenda on Slugger so I hope I will be forgiven this selfish entry. South Africa should hold its head in shame. They have disgraced themselves on the international stage and brought pain to countless millions. Today saw a suffering launched on the world that makes apartheid seem a minor transgression. The vuvuzela. I have already joined a Facebook group in protest and my anger will surely grow until FIFA or … Read more

Photograph of the Day – Who wants to play?

A Pittbull terrier at Pitt Park off the Lower Newtownards Road Moochin PhotomanPhotographer and visual artist based in Belfast. I have facilitated community based workshops with groups as diverse as visually impaired individuals in Dungannn, Travellers across Northern Ireland, Young Offenders and many community groups across Belfast. My work has exhibited extensively here in Northern Ireland in group and individual shows and has been shown in North America and i had my first solo international exhibition in New Zealand. I … Read more